A Statement of Commitment and Action

The following Statement of Commitment and Action was adopted by St. Francis Old Catholic Church in order to affirm our commitment to our Baptismal Covenant. While our Baptismal Covenant is generalized we wanted to make a statement that spells out in no uncertain terms how we, as a community of faith, will live out that Covenant.

St. Francis Old Catholic Church reaffirms its commitment to respect the dignity of every human being, strive for justice and peace among all people, and seek and serve Christ in all persons. We are concerned about the increase in statements and actions in our nation that target particular groups of people based on their skin color, their religious affiliation, their gender or orientation, their disabilities, or their country of birth. These are artificial divisions that we vehemently denounce as discriminatory and disrespectful. We believe our nation can do better, and we pledge to work toward that better vision here and now. We commit to being a network of activists, in God’s name, joining others who similarly pledge to actively pursue justice. Here’s how we will engage this work:

1. We will go deeper in faith.
We commit to read, study, and live the words of Jesus. The prophet Micah’s words provide a mantra for us as people of faith: “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” We must seek both courage and humility as we respond. (Micah 6:8)

2. We will listen.
We will listen to those with whom we may disagree as we seek safe and sacred spaces for hearing each other’s stories, pains, fears, and hopes. We will foster such dialogue so that our children might learn the meaning of the diversity and pluralism that is America’s best future.

3. We will lift up truth.
We will strive to replace fear with facts when it comes to discussions about immigrants, refugees, Muslims, racial diversity, the LGBTQI community, and national security. Our times require a moral compass, and truth-telling is an important part of this.

4. We will reject White Nationalism.
We will name racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia as sins. We believe all people are made in God’s image, and we affirm diversity as a gift, blessing, and opportunity for our nation.

5. We will love our neighbors by protecting them from hate speech and attacks.
We will identify, report, and confront hate speech and behavior — against all ethnic and religious groups, women, LGBTQI people, immigrants, people with disabilities, and all marginalized groups. We will name hate speech and behavior as sin. Our church stands as a sanctuary and safe haven for people threatened by those who would attack them.

6. We will welcome the stranger, as our Scriptures instruct.
We will advocate for immigrants and their families, and we will block, interfere, and obstruct the mass deportations of immigrants who are members of our communities.

7. We will expose and oppose racial profiling in policing.
We will join with other local faith communities in monitoring the relationship of our police to our communities, calling out racial injustice when we see it.

8. We will defend religious liberty.
We embrace Muslims as fellow Americans and stand with our local mosques in congregational solidarity. We will denounce the defamation and banning of Muslims, and will seek to disrupt any attempt to require registration of Muslims.

9. We will work to end misogyny that enables sexism and a culture of sexual violence.
We will work to replace misogyny with mutual respect. We will name sexual assault for what it is—a sin and a crime. Gender fairness and equality must be fundamental principles in our workplaces, schools, and political systems.

10. We will fight for climate justice and protection of our environment.
As stewards of our land, air, and water, we will stand with others in broad coalition to preserve these precious resources while working to reverse the troubling trends of human-caused climate change.

11. We will protest with our best values.
We will defend constitutional values and workplace fairness, striving to respect the dignity of every human being. Whether in our streets, with our schools or in our workplaces — we will protest with dignity, discipline, and nonviolence, not with hate for hate.

12. We make these commitments to you, and with you.
The days and weeks and years ahead will surely require much of us. St. Francis Old Catholic Church will be here to provide sustenance for the journey, resources for learning, safe space for dialogue, and opportunities for prayerful resistance and action. Join us as we engage this work, as community, in God’s name.

Adopted St. Francis Old Catholic Church
Memphis, Tennessee
January 1, 2017

The Statement of Commitment and Action was originally created by Saint Mark’s Cathedral Parish (Episcopal) in Seattle, Washington. Used with Permission. Minor edits were made.

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